Be–Be π-Bonding and Predicted Superconductivity in MBe2 (M=Zr, Hf)

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Beryllium, an s-block element, forms an aromatic network of delocalized Be–Be π bonds in alloys ZrBe 2 and HfBe 2. This gives rise to stacked [Be 2] 4− layers with tetravalent cations in between. The [Be 2] 4− sublattice is isoelectronic and isostructural to graphite, as well as the [B] −2 sublattice in MgB 2, and it bears identical manifestations of π bonding in its electronic band structure. These come in the form of degeneracies at K and H in the Brillouin zone, separated in energy as the result of interlayer orbital interactions. Zr and Hf use their valence d orbitals to form bonds with the layers, leading to nearly identical band structures. Like MgB 2, ZrBe 2 and HfBe 2 are computed to be phonon-mediated superconductors at ambient pressures, with respective critical temperatures of 11.4 K and 8.8 K. The coupling strength between phonons and free electrons is very similar, so that the difference in critical temperatures is controlled by the mass of constituent interlayer ions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202114303
JournalAngewandte Chemie International Edition
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • MGB2
  • beryllium
  • bond theory
  • elements and element groups
  • inorganic chemistry
  • superconductors


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